What to Expect from Facebook’s Graph Search

Facebook announced Graph Search last month and there’s been a lot of buzz to what it is, how it affects user privacy and if it’s really going to change the face of search. (You can sign up to join the waiting list for the beta version now.)

What is it?
Simply put, Graph Search helps you better find people, places and things you’re interested in. Perhaps, this is finally Facebook’s answer to Google + and Twitter’s recent updates, but one thing is for sure, they want to make a good impression on investors since stocks have started sliding.

In Mark Zuckerberg’s on words, “Graph search is designed to take a precise query and return to you the answer, not links to other places where you might get the answer.”

What about my privacy settings?
According to Facebook, each user will see different results. Regardless of what Facebook reveals (or doesn’t), it’s important to be aware of what you put on your profile and what can be seen, especially if there’s a bug or glitch that potentially reveal more than you’re comfortable with to the public eye. Here’s a quote that is a good summary for those who are concerned with their privacy on Facebook:

So, no, Facebook Graph search isn’t notable just because it can help you find a nice restaurant or a pleasant place to get a drink. It marks another step into a future where corporations are able to peer inside our lives to a far greater extent than we would ever allow a government to do.” (Read more here.)

What does the future hold?
Current employers of people who like Racism, Married people who like Prostitutes and so on. Take a look at more actual Facebook Graph searches. It’s no wonder that some people are mocking Graph Search for its invasion of privacy. It’s not really clear what Graph Search can do for businesses but it can help from an HR and reputation point of view.

Although we haven’t gotten our hands on the new Graph Search yet, it will be definitely interesting to see what the fuss is about. Sign up and let us know what your trial run is like!

Diaspora – Your Next Alternative to Social Networking?

Join Diaspora

Privacy concerns about Facebook and Google+ are growing. Just check out this infographic about Facebook security. As Facebook announced its new Timeline, many people feel that these features are too stalker-ish. Do you really need or want to know your friends’ timeline of events from the day that they were born? New privacy features enable all friends to see all your activity – this means your boss, client, mom, professor or whoever else you happen to be friends with. Although Mark Zuckerberg made it seem so good, this “frictionless sharing” is what a lot of people are afraid of. This problem also carries on over to Google+ accounts, which seems to made even more for public search than Facebook.

While Facebook and Google + seem to want you to open up more to the public, it’s hard to see how you can socialize AND keep your privacy. But the answer you’re looking for may come in the form of Diaspora. The selling point of this relatively new social network is that it is secure – you can share WHAT you want, with WHOM you want. Another great thing is that you own the pictures you upload. There’s none of this nonsense where you give the company consent to use your pictures however they please, ahem.. Twitpic.

I admit that I’ve had my Diaspora account for sometime, I haven’t been making full use of it. I’m pretty sure that my non-internet marketing friends and family are even aware of what Diaspora is. Which is part of their problem… some early reviews say that the profiles are too plain and that there needs to be more features. Also, Diaspora needs a helping hand when it comes to monetary funds and have been asking for donations to help further their project. Sometimes, simplicity is best and I’d like to see where Diaspora takes things.

What do you think? Are you worried about social networking privacy features of other mainstream sites and would you look into using alternatives like Diaspora?

Help, My Dad is on Facebook!

“Just watched my dad type in mail.yahoo.com into the username field on the Gmail homepage. Wow.”

Comedian, Aziz Ansari shows us that some of our parents aren’t as internet-savvy as we’d like them to be. So, how do you feel knowing that your parents are on Facebook?

Fastest Growing User Segment
There’s a myth that only teens and young people are on Facebook – that would be wrong of course. The 35+ age group has grown drastically and actually, 55+ females was one the fastest growing groups earlier this year! Facebook surpassed 500 million users earlier this summer and I’m sure that only more “older” people will sign up. Can’t they enjoy Mafia Wars and Nightclub City like the rest of us?

Scams to Watch Out For
No, my dad hasn’t fallen for any email proposals from Nigerian princes but he does have the bad habit of opening pretty much every email he receives. Which is only one reason that I now worry that he is on Facebook… From password phishing, fake “Unlike” buttons and worms from applications, there are plenty of Facebook scams out there. Even though all this stuff is out there, I think the benefits outweigh the potential negatives.

Please Don’t Friend Me
Some people may find it “creepy” or “weird” that their parents or older relatives are on Facebook to check up on them. Two words: privacy settings. Facebook doesn’t have to be all about businesses or games. I actually think it’s a great way for my parents to stay connected to our relatives (most who live in other states) and reconnect with old friends. What’s your opinion?

Does the New Facebook Make You Miss the Old MySpace?

Privacy Concerns
Facebook’s privacy shuffle is not quite done as founder Mark Zuckerberg reveals that new settings will be coming very soon. Great, just what we need!
Facebook’s integrity may be unraveling as many users are angered by privacy violations, profile bugs, and Zuckerberg’s pompous behavior. A recent source reveals that Zuckerberg called users “dumb f****” when a friend asked why users would trust a stranger with their information.

Profiles Lacking Personality

Privacy is not the only thing that Facebook user profiles are lacking – what about the personality? Remember when you could make your interests “unique”? Maybe you enjoy ‘music to sleep to’ or some other obscure band or activity. Thanks to the site’s new feature, you can’t even add something you’re interested in to your profile unless it already has a presence on Facebook (via Group, Page, Community etc.) On top of that, adding an interest to your profile instantly connects you to other users who like the same thing, whether you like it or not.

Now everyone is stuck with a boring, generic profile layout and you can’t even add an interest that Facebook doesn’t like. Remember when you could add your favorite song to your MySpace profile or change your background layout to match your mood? No, we aren’t talking about the obnoxious animated gifs. What if you just wanted to simply change the background color and font? Not possible with Facebook. Although my MySpace account has been laid to rest many years ago, the new Facebook makes me miss it sometimes. Facebook’s features seem to be getting more problematic and restricting. That’s not to say that MySpace didn’t have privacy issues of their own… but still.

What’s Next?

Thousands have already pleaded to commit social suicide and quit Facebook by May 31st, will you join? I’m also looking forward to Diaspora, an alternative to Facebook, which is set to launch September of 2010.

Social Media Things to Keep in Mind

Going Overboard

Twitter. Facebook. YouTube. Blogger. Tumblr. WordPress. Vimeo. MySpace. People can tend to go a little overboard when it comes to social media nowadays. It’s not a bad thing to be everywhere, but you may be spreading yourself thin. Instead, examine the right platforms for your campaign. Having a Twitter or WordPress is pretty useless you’re active. No one said it was easy, but it does take time and effort.

Overlooking Google Profiles

With all the profiles you currently have, who as the time to consider their Google Profile? It is always worthwhile to take advantage of free resources to make sure that your latest info is updated. While Google may have failed with Orkut, they have many social innovations that have grand potential. Google Wave is a favorite among web designers and other busy professionals, while Google’s What’s Popular is looking to rival Digg. There are new social media sites coming out all the time, but it’s especially worth it to keep your eye out on Google products.

Someone’s Always Watching

A little creepy? But yes, we should all be a little more careful with our personal information on all these social media sites. It’s common sense and yet, it can’t be reiterated enough! Facebook’s founder recently claimed that we’re no longer in the age of privacy. According to Zuckerburg, he would make all private info public, if he launched Facebook today. Although many oppose his remarks and Facebook’s recent privacy changes, the best we can do is guard our online identity. Another sketchy source came out saying that Facebook knows who you stalk. Not sure how you guys feel about all this, but I just like to be aware of what’s going on.